Fork Report: Sun Devils score 62 vs. USC in ‘must win’ game
TEMPE, Ariz. — In what was deemed a “must win” by many, ASU not only got the win, but in doing so delivered a message to the rest of the Pac-12, specifically the South Division.
The Sun Devils broke open a close game, exploding for 28 third-quarter points and 42 points in the second half on the way to a 62-41 win over USC at Sun Devil Stadium. The 62 points were the most an ASU team has ever scored against their conference rivals to the west.
Marion Grice, the nation’s leading scorer, crossed the goal line four times. He had two rushing and two receiving scores, giving him 12 total touchdowns in four games this season.
Taylor Kelly passed for three touchdowns and accounted for 430 total yards.
The Sun Devils gained 612 yards against what had been the fourth-best defense in the country, allowing only 230.5 yards per game.
Defensively, despite allowing more than 200 rushing yards for a third straight game, ASU had four sacks and forced four turnovers, including a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery by senior safety Alden Darby.
Jaelen Strong recorded his third straight 100-yard receiving game, finishing with 104 yards on seven catches.
Will Sutton, on USC’s first offensive snap of the game, recorded his first sack of the season, dropping quarterback Cody Kessler for a five-yard loss.
The continuous (and curious) use of sophomore quarterback Michael Eubank. Yes, he scored the Sun Devils’ first touchdown—the first points scored against the USC defense in the opening quarter this season, but then later in the second quarter, facing a third-and-goal from the one, Eubank re-entered the game and was stopped for a loss of two yards. The Sun Devils settled for a field goal.
When It Was Over:
Darby’s 46-yard interception return for a score, his second pick-six against USC in two years, gave the Sun Devils a 34-21 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter. Darby went 70 yards for a touchdown at USC on Nov. 10, 2012.
Player of the Game:
Kelly. For the fourth straight game, Kelly passed for more than 300 yards. His 351 yards are the most passing yards ever by a Sun Devil agains USC. He also rushed for a team-high 79 yards, including a long of 40 yards.
• Deantre Lewis’ fourth quarter score was his first touchdown since 2010.
• Alex Garoutte became the Sun Devils’ third different punter (fourth if you count Kelly). Garoutte averaged 38 yards on three punts, and placed one inside the USC 20-yard line.
• Sophomore nose tackle Jaxon Hood did not play, missing the game after suffering a leg injury against Stanford last week. Senior Gannon Conway moved from his starting defensive end position to tackle with senior Davon Coleman and junior Marcus Hardison seeing time at end.
• Scouts from ten NFL teams were in attendance: Browns, Dolphins, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Rams, Ravens, Saints, Titans.
He Said It:
“Just a masterful job by our offense and by our whole team,” head coach Todd Graham said. “Our offensive line brought it. We totally domintated them offensively. It was a great, great night to be a Sun Devil.”
ASU (3-1, 1-1) hits the road, traveling to Texas to play Notre Dame (3-2) at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, on Saturday, October 5. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 4:30 on NBC; and of course on the Sun Devils’ flagship station Arizona Sports 620 with pregame coverage starting at 2:30.